When you walk south on Dyckman Street you will be reminded they you are in a very hilly section of the neighborhood. I walked Broadway to Hillside Avenue and I have to say I got my exercise today. Hillside Avenue and the surrounding streets are all up and down hills. Hillside Avenue as you are walking up has unusual rock formations and small patches of wooded area which is unfortunately filled with garbage.
The neighborhood should really rally around this because it is quite beautiful. It is even nicer toward the end of the street with the large rock formations and the trees growing out of them.
I covered the lower parts of Sherman Avenue, Nagle Avenue, Bogardus Place and then traveled west to cover Ellwood Street, Sickles Street, Arden Street, Thayer Street and Dongan Place. These blocks were filled with pre-war apartment buildings and local family businesses. The one thing I noticed on a lot of these blocks is that many families set up tables and chairs and sit outside in the afternoon and night and play domino’s and cards and talk to their neighbors. I felt like it was a throw back to the days when my mom, who lived in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn back in the 50’s, would talk about everyone sitting outside because there was no air-conditioning and you would converse with your neighbors because everyone was in the same boat.
What’s nice about this neighborhood environment is that these families watch what is going on and know the comings and goings of the people in their neighborhood. For all the talk about Inwood not being a safe place, I never felt nervous. The one thing I will remember after today is that Manhattan is not flat.
I walked around the Dyckman Street Houses and into the park area between the buildings. Word of advice, when walking around public housing. Never wear a ‘9/11 Remembers NYPD and FDNY’ shirt. At 6:4 with a thick mustache, I could see that some of the people on the park benches assumed I was a cop walking through to inspect what was going on and I saw a few small groups of people actually get up and leave when I looked at them. That was strange.
After a long walk on a hot day, head over to the corner of Nagle and Dyckman Street. There is a woman who sells the most refreshing mango and strawberry ice for $1.00 and it will cool you down immediately. Before leaving this section of Inwood, double back to Bogardus Place and Hillside Avenue and watch the sunset. It is a pretty amazing sight.
Places to Eat:
Stop by the vendors on 207th Street from Broadway to 10th Avenue. There are all sorts of street cooks making everything from Pastilitos to fried breads and doughnuts.